I am not going to do this again. The longer I put off writing, the less I want to do it. Ride logs should be written the same day or the next at the latest, and they definitely should not be stored up. This is an exercise to motivate not procrastinate. That leads to the opposite effect: not wanting to go for a ride because I haven’t written about the last yet. So, now, I catch up. Only two rides as it turns out but they are from a week ago. Hopefully, writing about them will free me to hop on my bike this weekend.
Except for water sports, I don’t think of exercise as a way of cooling off. Last Friday was one of the few really hot summer days we get around here. Josh came home and took Ike to go drop some crab pots and I was alone in the house sweating after a day of cleaning and rearranging furniture. I sat down to write for a few minutes and found myself pondering a bike ride as a nice way to cool down. I realized I could write more later, but if I didn’t go for ride right away, I would convince myself that it was too late or something. It was almost 8pm and there was about two hours left of light. The temperature outside was much more pleasant than inside even with all the windows open and the ceiling fan whirring. I grabbed my phone and made way to the garage and off I went to the shadiest street I know. Wow. So nice to have cool air hitting my face and flowing under my T-shirt. The little exertion I needed to expend to keep moving was minimal compared to the relief I felt as coasted down the slight inclines of the road. It was exactly what I needed.
It seemed like a battle to get out of the house. I wanted to scream, “Let’s go have some fun, goddammit!” I was also ready to just let the whole venture go, tired of pushing my will. at that point, Ike exclaimed he DID want to go for a bike ride after protesting for the previous half-hour. Josh and I said the serenity pray and desire for harmony prevailed.
The last time we rode the Larry Scott Trail, we stopped every few feet to urge Ike along. He was riding his own bike and kept wanting a push. I didn’t really notice the subtle incline because we stopped so often. On Sunday, Josh was pulling the tagalong and is was steady pedaling, a continuous effort. I understood the complaints of my 5 year-old as my legs began to hurt. This slow climb was kicking my ass. I am used to a pedal-coast-pedal-coast method around my neighborhood. I am rewarded with a little rewards after a little effort. But not on the trail. I felt my weight and my weakness as my legs felt like they were churning butter.
After about a mile and a half, there is a short stretch of little rolling hills, a quick up-down that I looked to with relief. Finally, a moment of respite. But looking beyond, the train continued to climb and I felt that it was time to turn back.
On the return, I realized in was all uphill, even the parts I thought were flat. Coming down was awesome! I put my bike in high gear and kept pedaling enjoying the breeze and the view. The hillside was covered with different shades of purple: wild peas, thistles, salal berries.Straight ahead, the peninsula juts out into the bay littered with sailboats and the ferry coming and going from town.
I though about my ride and how it is related to recovery and my path through life. Pedal-coast-pedal coast makes for a very pleasant journey but, slow steady climbing might give a greater reward.
So you can see I lost momentum. I was trying to write the logs on the same day as the ride as a low-pressure way of regular posting. But, life got busy with other projects and events and I barely had time to ride let alone write about it. So here I am, trying to catch up.
The library has become the primary biking destination, especially as our local holds amazing kid events. Last Friday was Boffer Club. We have been anticipating this event for the past month because the kids were going to make their own foam swords. I knew it was going to be crowded and had every intention of arriving early. But, the gods conspired and there were interruptions in my planned flow of the day such as needing to go jump-start my mother’s car and making lunch. At ten minutes ‘til, we were racing to find our shoes and hop on our bikes. We hurried down the road as fast as a 5-year old can pedal.
It was a warm day and the conference room was packed with boys of all ages, a smattering of girls, a fairly equal number of dads and moms who needed to stay with the under 9 set plus a few who just wanted to hang out. There was a scent of sweaty impatience and fear of not having enough. It was just the right setting for a meltdown. But, something about riding the bikes there helped me remain calm and Ike held it pretty together as well. We waited for our materials and then instructions and were able to use the duck tape of choice (black with yellow flames for the “blade” and red for the hilt). It seemed to take forever but when we were done, there was still over an hour left to spar and battle. Ike made a new friend; I chatted with the mom. Both boys were made King for a mock battle. Ike was having a blast and I felt so relaxed, no gnawing urge to get somewhere. The world just seems to slow down a little when travelling by bike.
It rained the past two days and I didn’t get out on the bike. Yesterday, we had a much-needed stay-at-home day after a busy week. One of the nice things about living around here, you can depend on rain coming to give you an excuse to remain indoors. I paid bills and placed some orders while Isaac built Lego spaceships and cyborgs. Today, the sun came out and I regretted not going to see Brave last night instead the planned matinée of today. But, we went anyway figuring the sun would still be shining after.
I am much more interested in the bikes I see around now that I am riding too. I find myself looking for the old roadsters, the fixies, the mixtes, and cargo bikes. The weather was so fine that there were lots of folks on bikes in town. We were in the car, however, as town is about 12 miles from where we live (I don’t usually call the area we live as a “town” though we have some necessary establishments: market, post office, library, a couple of restaurants, and a farmer’s market on Sundays). We stopped at the Food Co-op on the way home and that nagging, critic voice asked me what right I had writing a blog about biking. I am not some long-time biking activist or some touring enthusiast. But that’s just it. I am not really writing about bikes, but about the experience. I am discovering the joy of riding. I am exploring my world in a new way and feeling a little more a part of. I am basically having a change in consciousness, and I am trying to express it somehow. It is also about practice. Practice in how to keep pedaling through fear, inertia, and doubt whether on the bike, in my life, or on the page.
We came home from the movies and Josh was not feeling well. I don’t want to lose momentum nor enthusiasm. It is too easy to think, “I will go out tomorrow…tomorrow I will go on a long ride.” Ike and I jumped on the bikes. We returned a few books and a DVD to the library then took a long way home. At first, I thought it might rain again but the sun broke through the clouds and I took off my sweater. I don’t need to remind Ike to stay to the right as often and he is able to take the hills a little a better. I enjoyed the sun on my face, the sights of summer flowers, and the clicking of my bicycle chain. I feel my body move; I relax my grip on the handle bars, which I sometimes find myself holding too tightly; I watch my son pedaling in front of me and coasting down the hills. I did not experience childhood on a bike in Los Angeles. I didn’t really start to ride until I was 10 and even then, not very consistently. I feel like I am learning with him and am so grateful that he gave this gift to me.
Just a quick ride today, and we were late. I was thinking of skipping the post but I am not sure I will be able to ride at all tomorrow at all and want to keep the momentum. The party was at Ike’s former preschool. We took him out a few months ago for reasons I may post about later, but we were invited for this final gathering and Ike wanted to attend. It was our usual route to the library and then down the path to the primary school. Ike gets a big kick about locking up the bikes (that would have made a good picture).
The kids had a snack and cupcakes then played for a while outside. I checked in with the other moms about summer plans and kindergarten choices. Then, there was a closing circle and “diplomas” were handed out. We made our goodbyes and wishes for a good summer and got back on our bikes. Some of Isaac’s former teachers were outside and they cheered him on while we rode away.
Ike is doing so much better on the hills, but gets a little tuckered out. I am feeling in need of a longer ride.